Friday, May 9, 2008

Weather Channel Sexual Harassment Suit: Hillary Andrews and the Confidentiality of Arbitration

The Weather Channel is front and center these days with news of a sexual harassment arbitration and civil lawsuit involving two former co-anchors and the Weather Channel plus an impending multi-billion dollar sale of the channel.

Hillary Andrews

While an arbitration may initially seem like a good way for employees to settle claims , meteorologist and former co-anchor Hillary Andrews, in attempt to bolster her claims of sexual harassment in a civil suit against another former co-anchor Bob Stokes, is finding out the hard way, that arbitration decisions are considered to be confidential and binding.

Andrews, a former co-anchor at the Weather Channel is attempting to get records of a company arbitration ruling between her and former co-anchor Bob Stokes unsealed and recognized by the judge in her Cobb County civil lawsuit to bolster her claims of serial sexual harassment by Stokes and the company's blind eye to Stoke's behavior with former Weather Channel female co-anchors.

Bob Stokes, Former co-anchor at the Weather Channel

Andrews, who left the company in 2006 after her contract wasn't renewed, had entered into arbitration with Stokes, who at that time was still employed as a popular meteorologist and co-anchor. Andrews charged that Stokes was a "serial sexual harasser", that he made her job at the Weather Channel miserable. According to the Smoking Gun, Andrews claimed Stokes came on to her "daily", made sexually suggestive remarks, leered at her chest, and followed her into the dressing room. Andrews also charges that her predecessor, another female co-host suffered almost the same fate with Stokes' unwanted "attention". Andrews says that when she complained to the Weather Channel instead of addressing the "issue" she was reassigned to the graveyard shift until her contract expired.

Andrews purportedly won an sexual harassment claim against Stokes in arbitration which is not the same as a civil lawsuit which she filed against the Weather Channel and Bob Stokes in the courts back in November of 2007.

Andrews claims in her federal lawsuit that the Weather Channel "allowed her to be sexually harassed" by Stokes. She also alleges that after she rebuked Stokes' unwanted advances he "retaliated by, among other things, sabotaging her work on air". Andrews goes on to charge that the Weather Channel had "repeatedly tolerated Stokes' conduct in the past because he has high on-air ratings, and that TWC could and should have foreseen what he would do to her".


Arbitration is frequently conducted pursuant to confidentiality
rules and agreements that can conceal the existence and substance of a
dispute, the identities of the parties, and the resolution of the controversy.
Mediation proceedings, frequently cloaked with an evidentiary privilege,
are accorded even more privacy. Source - Law Review
Read more Weather Channel Bob Stokes Sexual Harassment Suit: The Secret World of Arbitration at


Source - Atlanta Journal - Weather Channel anchor sexually harassed, sabotaged co-anchor, lawsuit contends
Images - Atlanta Journal
Image - Confidential

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